Sir John Kirwan has officially been named as the coach for the Barbarians for their forthcoming autumn international season, it has been confirmed.
The former winger, who played his part in helping to secure the All Blacks’ 1987 World Cup victory, will surely make for an excellent guide for the invitational team. The 49-year-old Most Excellent Order of the British Empire has had an enviable career over the years, in which he has scored 35 tries in 63 tests for New Zealand – a feat which makes him one of the highest try scorers in international rugby union history.
One of Kirwan’s biggest challenges will be leading the Barbarians in their upcoming fight against Australia in a few weeks’ time. The teams will be battling it out at Twickenham Stadium on 1st November. He said: “In my view, it’s the first Test of their tour. That is what they will be expecting and that is what we want to deliver.”
Kirwan will have his work cut out for him as he prepares to take on one of the world’s most esteemed teams, nicknamed ‘The Wallabies.’ This year’s Australian squad will feature the talents of Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper to name but a few.
One that the Barbarians should have their eye on is Will Genia, whose Herculean strength has seen him bench press up to 172 kg in the past. Former All Blacks halfback Justin Marshall called him the best halfback in the world at present, a claim which has been widely repeated across the rugby world. Meanwhile, Israel Folau will bring some promising young blood to the team – from 2007 to 2008, he broke the record for most tries in a debut year.
However, the Barbarians also have a steadfast back line, making them favourites with Betsafe to be victorious on 1st November. Nobody sums up world class talent quite as well as Nick Cummins, the Australian winger who is well known amongst rugby fans for his charisma on and off the pitch.
Said Sir John: “Nick Cummins typifies the Barbarians rugby spirit. He’s a huge loss, having hung up his Australian jersey to play in Japan, but this is a great opportunity for him to prove himself against old team mates.”
The game has already proven popular with rugby fans worldwide, with Twickenham Stadium currently reporting more than 50,000 ticket sales.